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Publication numberUS7258634 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/437,842
Publication dateAug 21, 2007
Filing dateMay 14, 2003
Priority dateMay 14, 2002
Fee statusPaid
Also published asUS7547261, US7695382, US7704171, US20040002398, US20070270254, US20070270255, US20080020871
Publication number10437842, 437842, US 7258634 B2, US 7258634B2, US-B2-7258634, US7258634 B2, US7258634B2
InventorsDavid Morrow, Jesse Hubbard, Andrew Maliszewski, Matthew Winningham
Original AssigneeWarrior Lacrosse, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Reinforced lacrosse head
US 7258634 B2
Abstract
A reinforced lacrosse head having improved strength includes a pair of opposing sidewall portions each having a top end and a bottom end, a scoop portion extending between the sidewall portions, a base portion extending between the bottom ends of the sidewall portions, and a throat portion extending from the base portion for attachment to a lacrosse handle. This reinforced lacrosse head has one or more reinforcement members that are coupled to one or more portions of the lacrosse head.
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Claims(28)
1. A method of forming a lacrosse head, comprising:
determining a configuration for the lacrosse head, which includes an open frame having a ballstop portion, a pair of opposing sidewalls, and a scoop, and a throat portion, which is intended to receive a lacrosse handle;
selecting a generally predetermined location in the open frame for at least one metal signal-piece reinforcement member to be disposed;
molding the lacrosse head out of a plastic material such that said at least one metal single-piece reinforcement member is insert molded within the lacrosse head in said generally predetermined location;
wherein the lacrosse head has a front edge for defining a ball-receiving area;
wherein said at least one metal reinforcement member is disposed sufficiently proximal to said front edge for preventing breakage of the plastic material adjacent to said at least one reinforcement member.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the lacrosse head is formed by conventional plastic injection molding process.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the lacrosse head is formed by a gas-assist injection molding process.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the lacrosse head is formed by a structural foam molding process.
5. The method of claim 3, wherein said at least one single-piece reinforcement member is disposed adjacent a cavity formed in the head during said gas-assist injection molding process.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein said at least one single-piece reinforcement member is formed in a stiffening rib of the lacrosse head.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein said at least one single-piece reinforcement member is formed of a titanium material.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein said at least reinforcement member is formed in at least a portion of one of said sidewalls and at least a portion of said scoop.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein another reinforcement member is formed in the head in at least a portion of the other of said sidewalls and at least a portion of said scoop.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein a plurality of reinforcement members are formed in the head.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein said at least reinforcement member is formed in the head in at least a portion of one of said sidewalls.
12. A method of forming a lacrosse head, comprising:
determining a configuration for lacrosse head, including an open frame having a ballstop portion, a pair of opposing sidewalls, and a scoop, and a throat portion, which is intended to receive a lacrosse handle, said lacrosse head having an ball receiving side for receiving a lacrosse ball and an opposing ball retention side;
selecting a generally predetermined location in the open frame to locate at least one metal reinforcement member; and
molding the lacrosse head out of a plastic material through an injection molding process such that said at least one metal reinforcement member is insert molded within the lacrosse head in said generally predetermined location;
wherein said at least one metal reinforcement member provides increased strength to the head and minimizes flexibility during play.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein said at least one metal reinforcement member is disposed sufficiently proximal to said ball receiving side for preventing breakage of the plastic material adjacent to said at least one reinforcement member.
14. The method of claim 12, wherein the lacrosse head is formed by conventional plastic injection molding process.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein the lacrosse head is formed by a gas-assist injection molding process.
16. The method of claim 12, wherein the lacrosse head is formed by a structural foam molding process.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein said at least one reinforcement member is disposed adjacent a cavity formed in the head during said gas-assist injection molding process.
18. The method of claim 12, wherein said at least one reinforcement member is formed in a stiffening rib of the lacrosse head.
19. The method of claim 12, wherein said at least one reinforcement member is formed of a titanium material.
20. The method of claim 12, wherein said at least one reinforcement member is formed in at least a portion of one of said sidewalls and at least a portion of said scoop.
21. The meted of claim 20, wherein another reinforcement member is formed in the head in at least a portion of the other of said sidewalls and at least a portion of said scoop.
22. The method of claim 12, wherein a plurality of reinforcement members are formed in the head.
23. The method of claim 12, wherein said at least one reinforcement member is formed in the head in at least a portion of one of said sidewalls.
24. A method of forming a lacrosse head, comprising:
determining a configuration for the lacrosse head, which includes an open frame having a ballstop portion, a pair of opposing sidewalls, a scoop portion, and a throat portion, which is intended to receive a lacrosse handle;
selecting a generally predetermined location in the open frame for at least one metal reinforcement member to be disposed;
molding the lacrosse head out of a plastic material through an injection molding process such that said at least one metal reinforcement member is disposed within the lacrosse head in said generally predetermined location;
wherein said at least one metal reinforcement member is disposed in at least a portion of one of said sidewalls to provide increased strength to the head and minimizes flexibility during play.
25. The method of claim 24, wherein the lacrosse bead is formed by a gas-assist injection molding process.
26. The method of claim 25, wherein said at least one reinforcement member is disposed adjacent a cavity formed in the head during said gas-assist injection molding process.
27. The method of claim 24, wherein said at least one reinforcement member is formed in a stiffening rib of the lacrosse head.
28. The method of claim 24, wherein said at least one reinforcement member is formed of a titanium material.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/380,547, filed May 14, 2002 entitled “Stiffening Ribs For A Lacrosse Head,” the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to a lacrosse head for attachment to a lacrosse stick, and more particularly to a lacrosse head having increased strength without increasing the weight of the lacrosse head.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Lacrosse heads for use in the game of lacrosse are well known. Current lacrosse heads typically are manufactured by plastic injection molding processes and are secured to a lacrosse handle or stick for use in play. The structure of a typical lacrosse head is defined by a throat portion for connection to the lacrosse handle, a base portion that is disposed adjacent to the throat portion and defines a ball rest, a pair of opposing sidewall portions that generally diverge from the base portion, and a scoop portion that connects the ends of the opposing sidewall portions opposite the base portion. Furthermore, these lacrosse heads typically have netting attached to a back side of each of the base portion, the sidewall portions, and the scoop portion. This netting ordinarily is utilized for retaining a lacrosse ball within the lacrosse head.

The sidewall portions of current lacrosse heads typically have an open sidewall construction that is comprised of a plurality of non-string hole openings formed in the sidewalls. This open-frame construction can decrease the amount of material utilized to form the sidewall portions and thus the head, thereby decreasing the overall manufacturing and material costs for the entire lacrosse head. A drawback of the open-frame construction is that it can create structural weaknesses within the lacrosse head and allow the lacrosse head to twist, bend, otherwise deform, or even break. From this point, it will be appreciated that the less material utilized to form the lacrosse head, the weaker the lacrosse head structure can become.

One proposed solution for these structural weaknesses relates to the provision of stiffening ribs that are integrally formed in the head and extend from the socket or the base portion toward the scoop. The stiffening ribs are typically located above and below the sidewall openings to provide structural support thereto. These stiffening ribs usually are thicker than the main portion of the sidewalls to increase the structural integrity thereof. The lacrosse head is preferably constructed of a plastic material and the stiffening ribs are integrally molded as part of the lacrosse head during the same molding process. Unfortunately, however, these stiffening ribs may not be sufficiently strong for preventing the deformation or the breakage of the lacrosse head. Alternatively, they can add too much material and thus weight to the lacrosse head, thereby yielding an undesirable lacrosse head.

Therefore, a need exists for a reinforced lacrosse head that has improved strength, enhanced stiffness, and relatively low manufacturing costs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One advantage of the present invention is to provide a reinforced lacrosse head that has increased strength and resistance to deformation or breakage.

Another advantage of the present invention is to provide a reinforced lacrosse head that has increased strength and is still substantially lightweight as compared to current lacrosse heads, which yields decreased material and manufacturing costs.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is to provide a reinforced lacrosse head that requires less plastic, thereby decreasing the amount of time required for cooling the plastic and consequently decreasing the overall manufacturing cycle time of the lacrosse head.

In accordance with the above and the other advantages of the present invention, the present invention provides a reinforced lacrosse head having a substantially strong construction for resisting deformation or breakage. The reinforced lacrosse head includes a pair of opposing sidewall portions each having a top end and a bottom end, a scoop portion extending between the sidewall portions, a base portion extending between the bottom ends of the sidewall portions, and a throat portion extending from the base portion for attachment to a lacrosse handle. In one embodiment, the sidewall portions have an open sidewall construction in that each sidewall portion is comprised of one or more non-string hole openings formed therein. Each sidewall portion includes one or more stiffening ribs integrated therein for reinforcing the sidewalls adjacent the openings in the sidewalls. Furthermore, the reinforced lacrosse head includes one or more reinforcement members that are insert-molded within the stiffening ribs. In an alternate embodiment, one or more reinforcement members can be insert molded into the scoop portion, the base portion, and/or the throat portion.

Other advantages of the present invention will become apparent when viewed in light of the detailed description of the preferred embodiment when taken in conjunction with the attached drawings and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of this invention, reference should now be made to the embodiments illustrated in greater detail in the accompanying drawings and described below by way of examples of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a reinforced lacrosse head having a series of reinforcement members insert-molded therein, according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the reinforced lacrosse head shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a sidewall portion of the reinforced lacrosse head shown in FIG. 2, as taken along line 3-3; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a scoop portion of the reinforced lacrosse head shown in FIG. 1, as taken along line 4-4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following figures, the same reference numerals are used to identify the same components in the various views.

The present invention is particularly suited to a lacrosse head having sidewall portions with an open-frame construction and with one or more reinforcement members insert-molded therein. For this reason, the embodiments described herein utilize features where the context permits. However, various other embodiments without the described features are contemplated as well. In other words, the present invention can be carried out in various other modes as desired. Moreover, the present invention can be utilized with a variety of differently configured lacrosse heads, including non-open sidewall lacrosse heads and straight-walled lacrosse heads.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a reinforced lacrosse head 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The reinforced lacrosse head 10 is preferably a one-piece injection-molded frame element including a pair of opposing sidewall portions 12 each having a top end and a bottom end, a scoop portion 14 extending between and connecting the top ends of the sidewall portions 12, a base portion 16 extending between and connecting the bottom ends of the sidewall portions 12, and a throat portion 18 extending from the base portion 16 for attachment to a lacrosse handle. As shown in FIG. 1, the sidewall portion 12, the scoop portion 14, and the base portion 16 have respective front edge portions 12 a, 14 a, 16 a for defining a ball-receiving area. In one embodiment, the lacrosse head 10 is formed from conventional plastic injection molding techniques. However, in another embodiment, the lacrosse head 10 is formed from a gas-assist injection molding process. In yet another embodiment, the lacrosse head 10 is formed from structural foam molding techniques.

The sidewall portions 12 have an open-frame construction in that each sidewall portion 12 is comprised of two or more rail portions 20 a, 20 b with one or more cross members 22 a, 22 b in connection therebetween. In this embodiment, the rail portions 20 a, 20 b and the cross members 22 a, 22 b define three openings 24 a, 24 b, 24 c in the sidewall portion 12. This open-frame construction substantially decreases the amount of material utilized to form the sidewall portions 12 and thus the head, thereby decreasing the overall weight of the lacrosse head 10. In addition to the construction exemplified in FIGS. 1 and 2, it is understood that the lacrosse head 10 can instead have more or less than two rail portions 20 a, 20 b, more or less than two cross members 22 a, 22 b, and more or less than three openings 24 a, 24 b, 24 c as desired. It is well known in the art to vary the design and configuration of the sidewall portions.

As best shown in FIG. 3, each rail portion 20 a, 20 b has at least one stiffening rib 26 a, 26 b formed thereon for strengthening the respective rail portion 20 a, 20 b as well as the sidewall. Specifically, in one embodiment, each stiffening rib 26 a, 26 b is a thicker integral part of its respective rail portion 20 a, 20 b and extends the length of the rail portion 20 a, 20 b from the base portion 16 to the scoop portion 14. Moreover, each stiffening rib 26 a, 26 b extends into communication with the throat portion 18 to provide additional structural integrity thereto. Additionally, the stiffening ribs 26 a, 26 b are preferably located in the sidewall portions 12 above and below the openings 24 a, 24 b, 24 c to provide structural support thereto. However, it will be understood that the stiffening ribs can be located in a variety of different locations on the lacrosse head. The term stiffening ribs encompass areas of the sidewall that are thicker than the surrounding portions of the sidewall.

Referring generally to FIGS. 1-4, the reinforced lacrosse head 10 generally has one or more reinforcement members 28 insert-molded therein or otherwise coupled thereto for strengthening the lacrosse head 10. As shown in FIGS. 1-4, the reinforcement members 28 are disposed sufficiently distal to the front edges 12 a, 14 a, 16 a so as to form those front edges 12 a, 14 a, 16 a with sufficient plastic material for resisting breakage upon the impact of a ball thereon. In this regard, the reinforcement members 28 are housed within relatively thick and therefore sufficiently strong plastic material. Moreover, one skilled in the art will appreciate the front edges 12 a, 14 a, 16 a locally deform a predetermined amount so as to absorb a portion of the ball's kinetic energy. In that way, the front edges 12 a, 14 a, 16 a decrease the speed of a ball and improve the player's ability to retrieve or catch the ball. Further, the reinforcement members 28 provide a generally rigid and relatively non-deformable overall construction.

In one embodiment, each reinforcement member 28 is a wire cylinder or tube comprised of a strong lightweight metal, e.g. aluminum or titanium. However, it will be appreciated that the reinforcement member can instead be comprised of other suitable strong lightweight materials, e.g. graphite. In addition, it is also understood that the reinforcement member 28 can have various other constructions instead of a wire construction. For example, the reinforcement member 28 can have an elongated plate construction that is contoured for inclusion within a particular portion of the lacrosse head.

With particular attention to the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the reinforcement members 28 are insert-molded within the stiffening ribs 26 a, 26 b of the rail portions 20 a, 20 b and extend substantially within the rib portions along the length of rib portions 26 a, 26 b. Furthermore, as illustrated best in FIGS. 2 and 4, it will be appreciated that the reinforcement members 28 can be integrated within the scoop portion 14, the base portion 16, the throat portion 18, or any combination of those portions as desired. It is also contemplated that a single reinforcement member 28 can be integrated within and extend across more than one portion of the lacrosse head. For example, a wire having the general shape of the lacrosse head frame can be integrated within the scoop portion, the sidewall portions, and the base portion.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, it can be seen that the reinforcement member 28 has a diameter suitable for inclusion within the structure of a particular portion of the lacrosse head, namely the rail portions 20 a, 20 b and/or the scoop portion 14. However, it will be appreciated that the reinforcement member 28 can instead be attached to the surface of the lacrosse head as desired.

Furthermore, although the Figures show only one reinforcement member embedded within a particular portion of the lacrosse head, it is understood that more than one reinforcement member can be embedded within the same portion. For example, a bundle of wires having sufficiently small diameters can be insert-molded within the same rail portion, either side by side or end to end. In this embodiment, the head is a solid structure with inserts or reinforcement members molded therein.

In an alternative embodiment, the lacrosse head 10 is formed by a gas-assist injection molding process. By this process, the reinforcement member 28 is located, at least in part, in a cavity to be formed in the head 10 during the formation of the head. The reinforcement member 28 will obviously be maintained in place by the plastic. The reinforcement member 28 can instead be located adjacent the cavity. Further, it will be understood that the reinforcement member 28 can be sized smaller than the cavity in length and/or width and that multiple reinforcement members 28 can be located in each cavity. Again, the reinforcement members can be located end to end or side by side. The gas-assist injection molding process forms a lacrosse head with decreased weight because less material is required to form the head. Further, the head is stronger adjacent the cavity as will be understood by one of skill in the art. It will be understood that in yet another embodiment, the lacrosse head 10 can be formed by structural foam molding processes. In this alternative embodiment, the lacrosse head is formed of a plastic material with cavities or voids formed therein. Further, the head includes reinforcement members 28 molded therein, either in the cavities or in other portions of the head.

The first step in the forming of a lacrosse head is to determine its shape and configuration. Once the configuration is selected, a mold having a mold cavity can be formed in the shape of the head to be formed. If a gas-assist injection molding process is to be utilized, then it must also be determined where the cavities in the head will be located. Thereafter, the mold will have to be configured to allow the gas to form the cavities in those selected locations, such as the structural ribs, the scoop, the base and/or socket. Thereafter, the reinforcement members 28 can be located in the mold such that they will be molded in the head in locations where strength or reinforcement is desired. By combining gas-assist injection molding or structural foam molding with the utilization of reinforcement members, the strength of the head can be increased without increasing the weight of the lacrosse head 10.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, numerous variations and alternate embodiments will occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention be limited only in terms of the appended claims.

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Reference
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7547261 *Aug 2, 2007Jun 16, 2009Warrior Sports, Inc.Reinforced lacrosse head
US7695382 *Aug 2, 2007Apr 13, 2010Warrior Sports, Inc.Reinforced lacrosse head
US7704171 *Aug 2, 2007Apr 27, 2010Warrior Sports, Inc.Reinforced lacrosse head
US7749113May 25, 2007Jul 6, 2010Warrior Sports, Inc.Lacrosse head with increased strength and playability characteristics
US7798923May 12, 2008Sep 21, 2010Warrior Sports, Inc.Lacrosse head with sidewalls of asymmetrical height
US7993221Aug 10, 2010Aug 9, 2011Warrior Sports, Inc.Lacrosse head with sidewalls of asymmetrical height
US8029390 *Sep 11, 2009Oct 4, 2011Warrior Sports, Inc.Reinforced lacrosse head and related method of manufacture
US8267814May 14, 2010Sep 18, 2012Warrior Sports, Inc.Climate variable lacrosse heads and related methods of use
US8282512Feb 23, 2010Oct 9, 2012Warrior Sports, Inc.Lacrosse head
US8376880Jul 27, 2012Feb 19, 2013Warrior Sports, Inc.Climate variable lacrosse heads and related methods of use
US8480518Jan 21, 2013Jul 9, 2013Warrior Sports, Inc.Climate variable lacrosse heads and related methods of use
US8512173Sep 7, 2012Aug 20, 2013Warrior Sports, Inc.Lacrosse head
US8651984May 22, 2013Feb 18, 2014Warrior Sports, Inc.Climate variable lacrosse heads and related methods of use
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/512, D21/724
International ClassificationA63B65/12, A63B59/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63B59/02, A63B59/0088, A63B2243/005, A63B2209/00
European ClassificationA63B59/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 3, 2011FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Sep 2, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: WARRIOR LACROSSE, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MORROW, DAVID;HUBBARD, JESSE;MALISZEWSKI, ANDREW;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:014452/0350;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030728 TO 20030821